President Donald Trump said on Monday he’s been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement for about a week and a half to protect himself against the coronavirus.
Hydroxychloroquine is currently being studied as a potential preventative for health care workers with high risk of exposure to coronavirus patients. But there is currently no evidence that taking hydroxychloroquine prevents COVID-19 infections although the drug has been used for decades to cure malaria.
President Trump made the claim during a roundtable with with restaurant executives on Monday.
The President said he sought advice from the White House doctor who told him “if you’d like it.”
“I said yeah, I’d like it. A lot of front-line workers are taking hydroxychloroquine,” he claimed.
“I don’t take it because — hey, people said oh maybe he owns the company. No, I don’t own the company. I want the people of this nation to feel good. I don’t want them being sick. And there is a very good chance that this has an impact, especially early on. But you look at front-line workers. You look at doctors and nurses. A lot of them are taking it. As a preventative,” Trump added.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning last month that the unproven drug should only be taken in hospitals because of the risk of heart complications.
Rick Bright, the former head of a key government vaccine agency, said last week that he he was ousted from his position because of his resistance to promote hydroxychloroquine, which has long been touted by Trump and his allies in conservative media.